Caius Julius Caesar remains the most famous Roman - and indeed one of the most famous people - ever to have lived. In this new biography, the first for many years, Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of the man who has inspired politicians, military leaders and philanderers throughout history. From the very beginning, Caesar's story makes dazzling reading. In his late teens he narrowly avoided execution for opposing the military dictator Sulla. He was decorated for valour in battle, captured and held to ransom by pirates, and almost bankrupted himself by staging games for the masses. As a politician, he quickly gained a reputation as a dangerously ambitious maverick. By his early 30s he had risen to the position of Consul, and was already beginning to dominate the Senate. His affairs with noblewomen were both frequent and scandalous - he slept with countless other men's wives, seduced both mothers and their daughters, and had love affairs with everyone from Brutus's mother to the beautiful and enigmatic Cleopatra. His greatest skill, outside the bedroom, was as a military commander. In a string of spectacular victories he conquered all of Gaul, invaded Germany, and twice landed in Britain - an achievement which in 55BC was greeted with a public euphoria comparable to that generated by the moon landing in 1969. In just thirty years he had risen from a position of virtual obscurity to become one of the richest men in the world, with the power single-handedly to overthrow the Republic. By his death, itself a spectacular event, he was effectively emperor of most of the known world.
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A conversation with Adrian Goldsworthy
Q: What is new about your book?
A: The overall approach is new. As far as possible I have tried to write this as if it were the biography of a twentieth-century statesman, looking in as much detail as possible at every aspect of his life. One of the biggest differences with Meier—and also Gelzer, who wrote the most important biography of Caesar before Meier—is that I have tried to cover each stage of his life in equal detail. Their focus was always on the politics. Yet Caesar spent a very large part of his life at war—he was on campaign for no less than thirteen of the last fifteen years of his life. We need to understand Caesar the soldier as much as Caesar the politician because the two were so closely intertwined.
Q: What are the parallels between Ancient Rome and our own times?
A: It would be wrong to claim exact parallels between Rome in the first century B.C. and the modern world, but there are undeniable lessons to be learnt from the turbulent history of these years. One of the most important is to show the fragility of political systems. Caesar lived in the last decades of the Roman Republic, a system which was already three centuries old at the time of his birth. But less than twenty years after his death, his adopted son Octavian had turned Rome into what was a monarchy in all but name. There is perhaps a lesson for modern democracies in the danger of allowing entrenched lobby groups, political parties, and other interests to stifle real debate.
Q: Where was Caesar headed at the time of his assassination?
A: Caesar was about to set out on a series of campaigns against the Dathians and Parcians, in what is modern Iraq.
Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, The Roman Army at War was recognised by John Keegan, the general Editor of The History of Warfare, as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has since written five other books, to great acclaim.
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Description du livre Weidenfeld Military, 2006. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P110297846205
Description du livre Weidenfeld Military, 2006. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0297846205